(Kadamba Kanana Swami, 26 December 2017, Govinda Valley, Australia, Initiation Lecture)
At initiation, one makes a lifelong commitment. But so many things happen over time and there are not always going to be great days, there will be moments of difficulty. I have experienced after some operations that it was difficult to chant. Once I was in a hospital, just coming out of intensive care and recovering, and one devotee brought me my beads, but I lost them in the ocean of the bed. They just disappeared and I had no idea what happened to them. At that stage, I did not manage to keep my vow. I could not chant sixteen rounds on that day; it was just not possible. It took me a few days before I could manage it when I eventually made up those rounds. We must understand that we wholly depend on Krsna to bring this commitment to a success, not on our own strength.
In the Caitanya Caritamrta (Adi 1.1), the opening words are vande gurun isa-bhaktan – it is beginning to glorify the spiritual master. It is saying that there are many spiritual masters but the Guru is first, as the Guru represents the Absolute Truth. The Guru is representing transcendental knowledge – dharmam tu sāksād bhagavat-pranītam (Srimad Bhagavatam 6.3.19) – meaning that this knowledge comes from Krsna. He is the origin of the knowledge and the spiritual master, in disciplic succession, is bringing that knowledge to us – evam parampara-praptam imam rajarsayo viduh (Bhagavad-gita 4.2).
So all the generations of previous acaryas are present at an initiation. Srila Prabhupada is there. Srila Bhaktisiddhanta is there. Panca-Tattva are also present. Many personalities are present. All the acaryas are not just invoked by mantra, but they are actively concerned with our welfare. They are supporting the whole effort. They are glancing at us and are blessing us through the vows we take. Therefore, there is a lot more going on than what we think and what we see. It is important to understand that there are higher personalities present who are looking upon us. When we have given our heart to a Personality, then certainly that Personality will look upon us with grace.